The week we got here it was in the 60's and 70's, then a storm rolled thru and it snowed and got into the 30's for a few days, then back in the 50's, then 30's. It yo-yo's like that a lot. I scraped 2" of snow off the windshield last Tuesday morning (with my hotel room key cuz Avis FORGOT to give me a scraper in my rental this trip). And I didn't lift my windshield wipers up overnight (forgot, SO not used to snow anymore) so they were nicely frozen to the windshield.
I've been riding my bike when I can...a 3 week trip nets me 2 weekends, so I need to make the most of those 4 days...and I did. Last Saturday I did my usual Cheyenne Canyon 1st-weekend-day 'crush my sea-level cardiovascular-system 5 hours in the saddle ride, going from 7500' to over 12,000', covering 42 miles and with over 5000' of climbing. Then on Sunday I had PLANNED to stay a bit lower in the mountains and do a few laps of my favorite trail here: Capt. Jacks. Turns out they started allowing dirt-bikes on this trail since I was here last (Feb 2017). Dirt bikes really can tear up a trail, especially as they come UP it, churning up the trail into mounds of soft stuff. Then the mt bikes come DOWN the trail and suddenly it's a whole different ballgame.
I went down (ie, crashed) pretty hard on that trail last Sunday...going over a root at a moderate speed and as I did my front tire dove into one of those churned up piles of soft stuff, hit something I couldn't see down in the soft stuff and instantly spun sideways, and suddenly I'm going over the bars on a 15% downgrade, and slamming down pretty hard on my left side...really thought I broke some ribs under my left arm for a day or 2 they hurt so bad. Amazingly me left shoulder/elbow and knee came out of it pretty well considering (I believe I might have dislocated my collarbone if it had happened on my right side....I dislocated my left many years back and now it's got a much larger profile and likely healed stronger than the original).
So anyway I was rather timid last week during my after-work rides in Palmer Park (a nice trail system here in town). Funny how that works...I don't crash very often, but when I do it shakes my confidence for a while and I descend even MORE like Grandpa than usual (I'm NOT a fast descender...nor really a fast climber, nor very fast on flats or rollers actually...my only real claim to fame is that I can just ride a decent pace a fairly long time...and by "fairly long time" I mean somewhere between 6 to 8 hours).
But by the time this weekend rolled around it turns out my 'bruised' ribs were feeling much better and it didn't hurt to breath anymore (or only for really deep breaths). And the temperatures were forecast to be up in the 60's on Saturday, HOORAY! However...there was high winds forecast (30mph sustained with higher gusts). BOOO! I drove up to my usual starting point (the High Road parking lot, sits at 7500') Saturday morning, opened the back on my rental mini-van and the ludicrous winds instantly blew a ton of debris into the van. So I closed the door, got back in and drove back down the mountain to the bottom and parked at the Cheyenne Canyon Visitor center (right at 6000'). Figured I'd ride the Columbine trail (which I haven't ridden in YEARS) that goes from the visitor center all the way to Helen Hunt Falls (which is just below the High Road parking lot). I figured staying lower on the mountain and in the trees (mostly) would still allow me to ride, AND keep me out of MOST of the horrible winds. And I was mostly right...I was able to ride, it wasn't really cold at all, and the winds ranged from near zero to gusting strong enough at any given moment to push me up a steep climb or nearly throw me off the trail a dozen or more times. It was crazy but still a good ride.
The winds let up some as the afternoon wore on but the damage was done and I only ended up riding a bit over 3 hours...the wind really takes it out of you. But that's ok...the forecast for Sunday was better...much lighter winds (around 10-15mph) tho cooler...high around 56. So yesterday I did the ride I was HOPING to do on Saturday: Climb all the way back to Mt Baldy road and then take trail 667 down into Jones park and finally tie it back to Buckhorn and finally back to Columbine and back to my car. I did all that, but with the STUPID time-change on Saturday night, by the time I was descending Columbine it was coming up on 3:30pm and was already deep in the shadows and cooling off FAST. I was QUITE chilled when I got to the bottom, but it was a good day, and netted me almost 6 hours in the saddle, over 34 miles, and over 5200' of climbing (high point of right about 10,100'). Not too shabby for a sea-level guy if I do say so myself!
And so...I have some pictures that I took during my 2 weeks of riding here...it IS a really beautiful place, and I could honestly live here one day if the situation ever arose that it became practical. It's a big city with a TON of stuff to do, and it has this enormous mountain range on it's west side including Pikes Peak (over 14,000'). The mountains are choked with roads, trails, streams and lakes, and are just chock full of adventure for any outsider-type person. Enough on that...here are some pictures!
That's all I have for pics this trip. I'm tired, and it's about time to go HOME (yay) And then next Wednesday we fly to Hawaii (HOORAY!!!) for 2 weeks! We will be on Oahu the first few days (Honolulu, Waikiki Beach) and then we fly to Kona HI (the Big Island...you know, the one with the volcano going off the last 30 years?) for a week, then back to Oahu the last few days. A nice way to spend Thanksgiving for SURE!
OK. I'm about out of here. I know it's big-time football season, but I have to tell you I've taken a knee (HA HA!) to the NFL this year. Not watching OR keeping track of any particular team, or supporting them in ANY WAY. Yep. If the entire league can turn a blind eye to their players dissing every veteran in the history of this country, then I (and hopefully MANY MANY OTHERS) will turn a blind eye to their sport. And maybe one day it will hit them where it counts: in the pocketbook, and many MORE of them will find them wishing a team would hire them (talk to Kapernick). I personally think they SHOULD be able to be fired. I would be fired if I tried to protest anything while I'm at work in MY job...why should they be different? They're in uniform at the stadium, and they're on the clock. Doing their JOB. And protesting the National Anthem of THIS country. They are PRO NFL Players, they could call a press conference pretty much any time, or give away half their ludicrous pay to help their cause, or any of 1000 other different ways to make their protest WITHOUT taking a knee (or not coming out of the locker room, same diff to me) for the National Anthem. As a retired Navy guy I find this SO offensive that I hope the entire league folds if they (the NFL) continue to allow this. Seriously. I can live without it. But hey, that's just MY opinion. And I'm entitled to it, as everybody else is theirs.
OK..sorry to get political there...but this protest thing really burns my butt!
But I will still watch college ball...and boy did I have a good weekend...OSU lost, Penn State lost, and Michigan WON (they are almost back in the hunt for a Big 10 title!) OSU plays Wisconsin this weekend...Big Blue plays them the next. GO BLUE!!
And with that I will wrap up this post. Next post will be with pictures from Hawaii.
Quick update: I tried to post these to Instagram and Facebook, but only the 1 pic made it...so anyway, here's my "all you can eat shrimp" @ Joes Crab Shack, CO Springs pics...I may not be able to go toe to toe with the 'big boys' but I think I'm definitely a contender in my weight class